Saturday 24 January 2015

Dengue fever vaccine close to development

The antibodies could be used to treat dengue fever or develop a vaccine that works against all four strains of virus, according to The Guardian.

A new class of antibody found in the blood of patients with dengue fever has boosted hopes for a vaccine against the virus, which debilitates millions and kills tens of thousands each year.

Cases of dengue fever have soared in the past 50 years to nearly 100 million a year as improved transport and urbanisation have brought more people into contact with the mosquito-borne virus.

While dengue infection often causes mild to high fever and lasts only a week or so, some patients develop dengue haemorrhagic fever, which is far more serious and kills about 22,000 people a year, many of them children.

The researchers spotted the new group of antibodies while they were studying blood drawn from patients who picked up dengue infections in south-east Asia.

They found that about a third of the immune reaction launched by each patient came from a new class of antibodies. Instead of latching on to a single protein on the virus surface – as usually happens – the new group of antibodies latches on to a molecular bridge that joins two virus proteins together.

When antibodies bind to viruses, they make them targets for attack from the wider immune system.

In tests are described in the journal Nature Immunology.
Posted by Tim Sandle

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